- property or money given as surety that a person released from custody will return at an appointed time.
- the person who agrees to be liable if someone released from custody does not return at an appointed time.
- the state of release upon being bailed.
- on bail, released or free as a result of having posted bond: He was out on bail within 10 hours of his arrest.
verb (used with object)
- to grant or obtain the liberty of (a person under arrest) on security given for his or her appearance when required, as in court for trial.
- to deliver possession of (goods) for storage, hire, or other special purpose, without transfer of ownership.
- go/stand bail for, to provide bail for: They spent the night in jail because no one would stand bail for them.
- jump bail, to abscond while free on bail: The suspect jumped bail and is now being sought.
- a sum of money by which a person is bound to take responsibility for the appearance in court of another person or himself or herself, forfeited if the person fails to appear
- the person or persons so binding themselves; surety
- the system permitting release of a person from custody where such security has been takenhe was released on bail
- jump bail or formal forfeit bail to fail to appear in court to answer to a charge
- stand bail or go bail to act as surety (for someone)
- (often foll by out) to release or obtain the release of (a person) from custody, security having been made
- (often foll by out) to remove (water) from (a boat)
- cricket either of two small wooden bars placed across the tops of the stumps to form the wicket
- a partition between stalls in a stable or barn, for horses
- a portable dairy house built on wheels or skids
- Australian and NZ a framework in a cowshed used to secure the head of a cow during milking
- See bail up
- the semicircular handle of a kettle, bucket, etc
- a semicircular support for a canopy
- a movable bar on a typewriter that holds the paper against the platen
“bond money,” late 15c., a sense that apparently developed from that of “temporary release from jail” (into the custody of another, who gives security), recorded from early 15c. That evolved from earlier meaning “captivity, custody” (early 14c.). From Old French baillier “to control, to guard, deliver” (12c.), from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden,” from bajulus “porter,” of unknown origin. In late 18c. criminal slang, to give leg bail meant “to run away.”
“to dip water out of,” 1610s, from baile (n.) “small wooden bucket” (mid-14c.), from nautical Old French baille “bucket, pail,” from Medieval Latin *bajula (aquae), literally “porter of water,” from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden” (see bail (n.1)). To bail out “leave suddenly” (intransitive) is recorded from 1930, originally of airplane pilots. Related: Bailed; bailing.
“horizontal piece of wood in a cricket wicket,” c.1742, originally “any cross bar” (1570s), probably identical with Middle French bail “horizontal piece of wood affixed on two stakes,” and with English bail “palisade wall, outer wall of a castle” (see bailey).
“to procure someone’s release from prison” (by posting bail), 1580s, from bail (n.1); usually with out. Related: Bailed; bailing.
see skip bail.
In addition to the idiom beginning with bail
- bail out
- make bail
- out on bail
- skip bail